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Massive Global Response Needed to Tackle Ebola

September 15, 2014
Public Health

As the number of Ebola cases in West Africa heads towards 5,000 Professor Peter Piot, one of the scientists who discovered the virus, has called for a global response to bring the situation under control.

Writing in Science Daily Professor Piot Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “This fast pace of Ebola’s spread is a grim reminder that epidemics are a global threat and that the only way to get this virus under control is through a rapid response at a massive global scale. As well as creating potential for further transmission, large numbers of untreated, and therefore unreported cases make it difficult to measure the true spread of infection, and hence to plan and allocate resources.”

The warning comes as US President Barrack Obama is expected to unveil a new set of measures aimed at trying to curb the outbreak including sending portable hospitals, medical supplies and health care workers to affected areas.

So far more than 300 health workers have become infected with Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone where a fourth doctor died last week. Shortages of trained medical staff have reached critical levels in some places. The closure of health facilities in an attempt to isolate the virus has also led to an increase in deaths from other conditions as patients go without treatment.

Initial predictions from the World Health Organisation (WHO) had hoped to contain the number of cases to 20,000 in the first nine months of the outbreak but research at the United States Institute of Health has suggested that the figure could be much larger.